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Canada’s new government must act urgently to address environmental and social justice concerns

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) & səl̓ilwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories/VANCOUVER

Time to get to work on climate action and a just recovery, say enviro lawyers.

As the dust settles after yesterday’s snap federal election, lawyers at West Coast Environmental Law Association say there is no time to waste for newly-elected officials to get to work on addressing a number of urgent concerns related to the environment, Indigenous rights and social justice.

“Canada’s new federal government has an urgent to-do list when it comes to addressing the compounding crises facing the climate, nature and our communities,” said Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel.

“Throughout this election, Canadians have made it clear that they expect a government that will work cooperatively and take meaningful steps to confront the climate emergency – and as we all witnessed this summer, there is no time left to waste. We look forward to working with the new minority government on the legal tools we need to meet our climate goals, and to fulfil other shared commitments like investing in Indigenous-led conservation and nature-based climate solutions, and ensuring a green and just recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

During Election 2021, West Coast joined other Canadian environmental organizations and grassroots groups as part of One Earth One Vote, a non-partisan initiative working to ensure that the environment, social justice and Indigenous rights were on the national agenda during the election. The cross-country coalition also released responses from all federal parties to a Federal Party Survey on Environmental Platforms, to inform voters about the major parties’ commitments and positions on 11 key environmental issues.

West Coast Environmental Law will be closely watching progress on a number of key commitments made by the incoming government that advance priorities advocated by West Coast, including:

  • Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and delivering an Action Plan to bring federal laws in line with the Declaration;
  • Implementing a plan to reach Canada’s climate target of reducing emissions by 40-45% by 2030, with regular progress reporting to hold government accountable;
  • Immediately capping greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry, with sectoral targets to ensure that the industry does its part in achieving Canada’s greenhouse gas targets.
  • Continuing work toward conservation targets to protect 30% of land and oceans by 2030;
  • Permanently protecting more old growth forest in British Columbia with a $50 million BC Old Growth Nature Fund;
  • Working with Indigenous partners to support Indigenous Guardians programs and establish more Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs); and
  • Tabling legislation requiring the government to examine the link between race, socioeconomic status, and exposure to environmental risk, and developing a strategy to address environmental justice.

“During the election, we were pleased to see commitments on some of the important initiatives we’ve advocated for. Our team will be watching closely for the announcement of the next Cabinet, and we expect to see these key environmental promises reflected in the mandate letters for new Ministers in the coming months,” said Clogg.

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For more information, please contact:

Alexis Stoymenoff | Director of Communications
604-684-7378 ext. 228, astoymenoff@wcel.org